Exercise #2187

Long Stretch

2 min - Exercise


Muscle Focus: Abdominals.

Objective: Strengthening the abdominals and challenging stability on a moving carriage.

Reformer Setup: Start with two medium springs depending on the amount of resistance desired. The lighter the spring tension, the more the exercise will challenge the abdominals. The footbar is up and the headrest is up.

Start Position: Place both hands on the footbar, shoulder distance apart. With the carriage against the stopper, step one ball of the foot at a time in between the shoulder rests, on the crease of the headrest (it is helpful to first place a soft pad between the shoulder blocks to cushion the feet). For an alternate foot position, place the heels against the shoulder blocks, balls of the feet on the carrriage. Legs should be active and drawing in towards the midline, the abdominals drawing to the spine, tailbone pointing to the heels, and arms pressing down into the footbar to prevent the shoulders and upper back from collapsing. Ideally the body will maintain a straight line from the head to the heels, with the shoulders over the wrists.

Movement: Inhale as you press the carriage out, ensuring that the only movement happens in the shoulder joint, maintaining the straight line of the body. Exhale to bring the carriage in to the stopper as the body returns to start position. Repeat three to five more times.
What You'll Need: Reformer w/Box

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Jun 05, 2015
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Let's take a closer look at the long stretch. I find that oftentimes it comes after being in this pyramid or upstretched position. So that's where I've asked Meredith to be. So from here, let's hinge down to a plank position and notice that the hinge came at the shoulders and the hips. So we're in this wonderful straight back position. Certainly there are some curves in the spine, but we're looking for a nice straight back and that's going to stay quite consistent here. We've got the heels pressing into the shoulder rest, which is a little different from the classical version. Today we'd like to keep the heels on the shoulder rest here and now the movement is only at the shoulders. We're going to move forward as far as we can, hopefully coming all the way to touch the stop keeping that spine perfectly still and then push back the breath pattern to me, doesn't matter as much here.

Um, however I like to teach an inhale forward and then an exhale to push back. Really engaging the abdominals here so that you can perhaps go just a little bit further. Notice a couple things. One, the head's not going to shift in space. Oftentimes I see the head falling and what I like to cue and think about here is this idea of keeping the head back. So I'll often put my hand here and say bring your head back on my hand and push just a little bit. So if you can imagine my hand back there and bringing your head back, you might find that it creates a little more stability here. Lots of upper back, lots of arms, lots of abdominal work here. Let's do a couple more.

And as you start to be a really comfortable with this position, you can create just a little bit more range noticing here. One of the things I'm doing with Meredith when she goes forward is I'm putting my hand right on her sternum cause what I'm looking for is the maintaining stability here. So we really want to keep this open sort of puffed feeling so that the shoulders don't collapse. Let's do just one more pushing back with the arms feeling. The deltoids are in fact involved, and as you come forward, we're going to try to go all the way to the stop or keeping the head here length and just a little more at the very end, Mary, and then lift your hips nice and high and return to your pyramid position, lowering the feet flat. Wonderful stretch. That's the long stretch on the reformer. Thank you. [inaudible].


Jess Perkins
1 person likes this.
Why are my wrists killing me after 3-4 reps? I'm using a yellow and a blue spring.
Jess ~ Thank you for your forum post. You may be bending your wrist too much which can cause pain after a few reps. When I do this exercise, I usually bring my hands forward a bit on the foot bar so that my wrists don't bend quite as much. I go as far forward as I can where I still feel I have control and won't slip off. I hope this makes sense and that it helps!
Hi Jess, Thank you for taking the time to write. Sorry for the delayed response...I was out of town with limited internet. Gia's advice is perfect! Also if you are on Balanced Body equipment, a yellow and blue is pretty light. I like a hearty green spring. Perhaps toy with using a bit more spring.
Taghrid K
2 people like this.
Excellent explanation especially with the head position. I sometimes vary the breathing with inhaling to go back as I feel I need my exhale to come forward and keep my straight back.
1 person likes this.
I came here wondering if I could do Long Stretch with my feet against the shoulder rests instead of the headrest and my question was answered immediately! Thanks so much!
Hi Kat D.  Sorry for the delayed reply.  I am so glad you came to this video and your question was answered.  Putting the feet against the shoulder rest is the BASIpilates way to do long stretch.  It offers a bit more stability for the feet and allows us to flow from one exercise to the next with out adjusting.  Up stretch 1, 2, 3 Elephant and Long stretch.  Take care;) 

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